Senate approves impeachment trial rules after bitter debate.

The Senate approved a package of rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump just before 2 a.m. ET this morning, after more than 12 hours of bitter debate. The package passed on a party-line vote, 53 to 47.

The rules resolution included two key changes from the draft version initially released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
  1. Both the House managers and presidential defense team will have 24 hours to make their opening arguments over three days, instead of just two.
  2. The findings from the House impeachment probe will be automatically accepted as evidence for the Senate trial, instead of requiring a separate vote later.
According to CNN, these changes were made after McConnell was pressured by about 15 Republican senators at a party luncheon on Tuesday. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) reportedly led the push, joined by moderate and conservative colleagues alike, worried that rushing the trial "could inadvertently give traction to Democratic complaints of an unfair trial." The White House had reportedly encouraged the original two-day requirement.

The final resolution was only passed after 12 amendments offered by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were all rejected. His proposals included attempts to subpoena testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, as well as documents from the White House, State Department, Defense Department, and Office of Management and Budget.

Cipollone responded, "The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you've addressed this body."

The exchange earned a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, the trial's presiding officer, who had remained quiet for much of the day. "I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body," Roberts said. "Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are."

--- Senators adjust to trial life: "The first real day of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial began Tuesday with all 100 senators in assigned seats, silently observing the historic proceedings — and it couldn't have looked more different from the raucous, partisan battle that had consumed the House since September."

"The Senate chamber remained eerily quiet as lawmakers were forced to remain in their rigid, wooden seats as they took in hours of procedural arguments from each side's designated speakers. No cellphones, no coffee and no staff to sit in their place for a brief reprieve."

. . . "The [trial] is a rare procedural spectacle that could last a week or more on the Senate floor. In a chamber where the average age is about 60, members will be stretching the limits of their abilities to remain silent, alert and awake for hours on end, day after day." (Politico)

Postscript: "[Idaho Sen. Jim] Risch was the first lawmaker seen by Washington Post reporters to clearly have fallen asleep, about four hours after the trial proceedings began Tuesday." (Washington Post)

January 22, 2020 , Gabe Fleischer, Wake Up to Politics.

January 22, 2020

Voices4America Post Script. While McConnell and the GOP continued their farcical trial without #Witnesses or #Evidence, there were 2 changes - the House findings are entered into the trial. Read & share what happened. Starts again at 1 pm today.

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